Columns

Something is following us!

There I was — after completing my School Bus CDL and having a route assigned, with Bus 27J. Life was great. I had to pick up a child on Goat Hill, and whenever a parent came up to the bus while it was still dark, the headlights caused my night vision to say bye-bye.
Backing a school bus is one of the most dangerous parts of the job. I backed up the bus and everything seemed okay. So I stopped and put the shift in drive — and off we went. A voice from the back of the bus said, “Mr. J. something if following us.”
I looked at the side mirrors and could not see a thing back there. After a few yards, I noticed a shadow of something rocking back and forth behind the bus. As it turned out the rear bumper of Bus 27J caught on a fence next to where I backed up the bus. I had no idea that I had pulled up 30 feet of fence — posts and all. The bus ran great and had no sign of strain from pulling up those fence posts!
It took the school’s maintenance crew several days to repair that fence which I had destroyed in seconds. Fortunately, there was no livestock in that area—which was a good thing.
On another fine day, I drove 27J from Park Road 37 to FM 1283, and headed towards Hwy. 16. Then, on to Bandera. I was on a steep grade and noticed a truck getting ready to pass me on a double yellow line, i.e., a no passing zone. I put my hand out the window signaling that truck driver to back off. The truck driver then poured on the power. The black smoke bellowed from the truck’s exhaust pipe.
I had a bag phone next to the driver’s window and dangled the head set out the window. Then, all of a sudden, the truck slowed down to a crawl and drove so safely from then on. I thought to myself what he must have thought about my action. “This school bus driver has communication with the law enforcement. … I'd better back down. I don't need a ticket.”
I hope you enjoyed this week’s adventure. Believe me, there is never a dull moment driving a 45-foot school bus!